Bill would ban peer-to-peer use in agencies
File-sharing software would be prohibited on government, contractor networks
- By Doug Beizer
- Jul 31, 2009
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) said he plans to introduce a bill that
would ban the use of peer-to-peer software on all government and contractor
computers and networks.
Towns, chairman of the Oversight and
Government Reform Committee, held a hearing July 30 about the security
issues associated with peer-to-peer software.
information leaks about the electronics for the president’s Marine One
helicopters and financial information belonging to Supreme Court
Justice Stephen Breyer onto the peer-to-peer network LimeWire make
such a ban necessary, Towns said. “LimeWire does not deny those
reports but claims that recent changes to the software prevent
inadvertent file sharing,” Towns said.
To investigate LimeWire’s assertions, Towns’ committee staff members downloaded and explored Lime Wire's software, he said.
staff found copyrighted music and movies, federal tax returns,
government files, medical records, and many other sensitive documents
on the Limewire network,” Towns said.
LimeWire has taken steps to eliminate inadvertent filing sharing, the company’s founder and Chairman Mark Gorton testified.
new version of LimeWire’s software released in December 2008
eliminates the possibility of inadvertently sharing files, Gorton said.
“LimeWire 5 does not share any documents by default,” Gorton
said. “In order for a LimeWire user to change their default settings to
enable document sharing, they have to click nine times and disregard
“As far as I am concerned, the days of
self-regulation should be over for the file-sharing industry,” Towns
said. “In the last administration, the Federal Trade Commission took a
see no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to the file-sharing software
industry. I hope the new administration is revisiting that approach.”
Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.